At Flight


Photo by Perri Rabbitt

“I mean, I was only going to be thirty-something-thousand feet in the air, all alone, at 12 years old.”

I might have been a little bit nervous. I mean, I was only going to be thirty-something-thousand feet in the air, all alone, at 12 years old. No big deal. Shrugging away panic attacks, I was extremely excited because I was getting to go home. My parents walked me to the gate, which was allowed because I was a minor, and hugged me until it was time to board. I embraced them one last time to cover the next two weeks I would be gone. I was nervous to leave them, but onboard I went.

You know the tunnel that leads from the gate into the plane? Right then and there I had my walk of realization. My feet were no longer on the ground, my parents were no longer with me, and I was about to undergo a six hour flight surrounded by people that I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet. Pushing the butterflies down from my stomach and into my clumsy feet, I walked onward embracing the new adventure with a smile.

It was incredible how many scenarios and possibilities of seatmates that came to my mind when I was sitting in the three pile row all alone. Having never been on an airplane by myself, it hit me how easy it could be to be seated next to someone who liked to murder little kids, or someone who wanted to eat shellfish when I was allergic.

It’s an interesting situation to be sandwiched in between two strangers. Thanks to the middle seat, in the midst of awkward moments you cannot turn to the window nor can look over to the other half of aisles and people watch. All you can do is face forward and be conscious that anything you do will affect the people next to you. In awkward scenarios it’s both a blessing and a curse that I just don’t feel embarrassed. However, in this case it was a blessing, and the middle seat was fine by me. I hopped in my seat to join a woman sitting on my right. I gave a tooth revealing smile and a loud greeting. I got comfortable and tried to situate my large bag of snacks, coloring materials, and travel bingo, prioritizing the snacks position to be the most convenient to reach, of course.

Eventually all three seats were filled, and I was in between the two. To my left was a lovely African America woman who was in her late 20s and to my right a beautiful Indian woman in her early 30s, who was also a principal of an elementary school. They asked me what occupation I was involved in, and I explained that I was only 12. They had mistaken me for a 21 year old, so I giggled and tried to act as mature as they had thought I looked, which I’m sure wasn’t convincing at all. The woman to my left turned to me all of the sudden and asked if I was a Christian. My whole body lit up. How in the world did she know the greatest part of me without knowing me? I was dumbfounded and I told her that I was, and suddenly the Indian woman turned around and explained that she too was in love with Jesus. Both women began sharing a little bit of their life stories and they began to encourage me to follow the right path, the path that God had created for me. As a little girl who always felt fat and goofy, they told me I was beautiful and that I had a kind heart. They were my sisters in Christ. They were like angels bringing me comfort.

Throughout the whole plane ride, we spoke about this and that and each thing in between. Their attitudes were uplifting and their view on life and the experiences they had gone through were one of a kind. They had shared their struggles and hardships with me to guide me in better direction and to educate me about what truly mattered through everything. I was completely inspired. Before I knew it, the plane was landing. My journey with these ladies was coming to an end, but my memories of them would last forever. I said goodbye… I’m pretty sure that I told them I loved them, and then I waited to be the last one off the plane. When the airline assistant came to get me to walk me out, because I was a minor, I hopped off the plane and onto firm ground once again. I was no longer thirty thousand feet in the air, and the nightmare of a plane ride turned into one of the neatest experiences I had ever had. I jumped into my aunt’s arms and on the way home when she asked me about the plane ride, I told her all about my two new best friends and how I got to sit right in between them for six hours straight. I guess you could say that I learned a lot that day, and I would never forget it. God had really taken care of me. He is that loving and caring and nurturing. I never needed to be afraid or nervous, because He always works it out in the end.